Alleged drug smuggler makes court appearance

One of three defendants charged with possession with intent to distribute over 400 pounds of marijuana following a vehicle pursuit in March appeared in federal court on Monday for a motion hearing.
An indictment handed down by a federal grand jury in May charged Belem Rosas-Cabrera, alongside Daniel Alaniz and Juan Antonio Galindo-Mata, with two counts of possession with intent to distribute marijuana stemming from an arrest on March 6.

 

Rosas-Cabrera, who appeared in court via video on four motions seeking exculpatory evidence, discovery, and notice from the government before mentioning prior bad acts during trial, is accused in a criminal complaint of acting as a lookout for her cousin, Galindo-Mata, during the transport of the drugs.

According to an affidavit filed in a criminal complaint against the three defendants on March 8, Brownsville-based Border Patrol agents were conducting line-watch operations on March 6 when agents observed several individuals attempting to cross the Rio Grande with large bundles.

Agents then observed a black SUV enter the same area and observed subjects carrying the large bundles from the river to the SUV, the document stated.

“At this time, the agents following the vehicle did not activate any emergency equipment to include lights and/or sirens, however, they observed the vehicle driving erratically such as exiting and entering the expressway by using the grass medium in attempts to elude from agents,” agents wrote in the affidavit.

Upon the activation of their emergency equipment, agents pursued the SUV until it struck a light pole near the intersection of Merryman Road and Frontage Road in Brownsville, according to the document.

The driver, who was later identified as Alaniz and passenger, later identified as Galindo-Mata, exited the vehicle and attempted to abscond but were apprehended by agents, the complaint alleged.

“A Border Patrol K9 conducted a free air sniff of the SUV, which alerted to the presence of narcotics near the back door of the vehicle,” agents wrote.

According to the complaint, agents removed 17 bundles which weighed approximately 422 pounds. Rosas-Cabrera was detained with two passengers after agents observed a vehicle of interest in proximity of the crash, A gray Mercury Mountaineer, the document stated.

Agents alleged that a consent search of Rosas-Cabrera’s cell phone revealed 11 calls to Galindo-Mata during the time he was allegedly supposed to pick up the narcotics.

The case is set for a final pretrial conference on Oct. 6.

esheridan@brownsvilleherald.com